My Spurs may never be tough enough to often beat big boys - Mauricio Pochettino

By dsguser
16 February 2017

Mauricio Pochettino admits he may never be able to make Tottenham mentally tough enough to beat the biggest teams on a regular basis.

Spurs have taken only two points from a possible 15 in away games against the rest of the top six this season and only nine points from 24 against those sides overall.

It is a record that has proven particularly damaging to their Premier League title chances, with Saturday's 2-0 defeat against Liverpool leaving Tottenham 10 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

Pochettino signed a new five-year contract last summer and has always placed great emphasis on his players' resilience in pressure moments.

The Argentinian accepts, however, he may never be able to completely transform the mindset of the club.

"I hear that it's not so good, our record away from home against the top five. But that is wrong," Pochettino said.

"Because if you look at history, and compare it with the last six seasons, you can maybe see that the last two years we've improved a lot competing against the top five or six in the Premier League.

"You cannot change that mentality, that problem, in one and a half years. That is a process to change. Maybe I will have time to improve that and change it. Maybe not. That is football."

Speaking ahead of Tottenham's Europa League game against Gent on Thursday, Pochettino also sidestepped suggestions he could be next in line to take over at Barcelona.

Barca's season is on the brink of collapse after they were thrashed 4-0 by Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

Their crushing loss at the Parc des Princes has intensified speculation about the future of Barcelona boss Luis Enrique and Pochettino is well-known in Spain after his three years in charge at Espanyol.

Asked about if he would be interested in taking over at the Nou Camp, Pochettino said: "It's important to be focused on the game tomorrow.

"I can't say anything about that. I'm at Tottenham. I am very happy, I have four more years on my contract, I'm enjoying an exciting project.

"It's true it's not an easy project, but I'm very happy here."

The defeat to Liverpool last weekend means Spurs are almost certainly now relying on the cup competitions if they are to win a trophy this season.

Pochettino said he has taken a soft approach with his disappointed players, who want the chance to put right their miserable display at Anfield, with a victory in Belgium.

"I tried to give love," Pochettino said. "We all felt disappointed that they suffered a lot.

"Sometimes, when your performance is not good and that game touched your pride, you don't need to kill them. The first man to kill is myself because I am responsible."

Pochettino added: "What happened against Liverpool, all the players want the chance to play again and try and change the feeling.

"But we'll see. Maybe we will make some changes, but not too many."

Danny Rose and Erik Lamela are still out with knee and hip injuries respectively while Jan Vertonghen is close to overcoming an ankle problem, but has also stayed at home.

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